Armed Forces General Staff (Portugal)

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Armed Forces General Staff
Estado-Maior-General das Forças Armadas
Military flag of Portugal.svg
Military Standard of Portugal
Active 1950–1974 (SGDN);
1974–present (EMGFA)
Country Portugal
Branch Armed forces
Type Military staff
Part of Portuguese Armed Forces
Headquarters Lisbon
Motto(s) Que quem quis sempre pôde
(That anyone who wanted always could)
Engagements Invasion of Goa
Portuguese Colonial War
Afghanistan War
Peacekeaping missions
Western Sahara
Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces

General Artur Neves Pina Monteiro

The Armed Forces General Staff (Portuguese: Estado-Maior-General das Forças Armadas), or EMGFA, is the supreme military body of Portugal. It is responsible for the planning, command and control of the Portuguese Armed Forces.

EMGFA is headed by the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (Portuguese: Chefe do Estado-Maior-General das Forças Armadas) or CEMGFA, the highest rank of general in the Portuguese Armed Forces.


The present Armed Forces General Staff was created in 1950, as the Secretariat-General of National Defence (Portuguese: Secretariado-Geral da Defesa Nacional) or SGDN. The SGDN was the central planning organization of the Defense, being headed by the Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff, under the dependency of the minister of National Defense (both roles also being created at the same time). Besides having the role of secretary-general of the SGDN, the CEMGFA also assumed most of the responsibilities until then assigned to the military heads of the Navy and of the Army (the then existing service branches, as the Air Force would only be created in 1952). The creation of the SGDN and of the roles of CEMGFA and minister of National Defense marked the integration of the several military service branches and so the creation of the Armed Forces of Portugal as a single organization.

In 1969, it was decreed that SGDN should be remodeled in order to be transformed into the EMGFA, as the organization for the joint administration of the Armed Forces. However, transformation of the SGDN into the EMGFA occurred in 1974.


The Armed Forces General Staff is integrated into the Portuguese Ministry of National Defence and includes:

  • The Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (CEMGFA)
  • The Joint Staff (EMC, Estado-Maior Conjunto)
  • The Joint Operational Command (COC, Comando Operacional Conjunto)
  • The operational commands of the Azores and Madeira
  • The commanders-in-chief that can be created under the CEMGFA, in times of war
  • The Military Security and Information Center (CISMIL, Centro de Informações e Segurança Militares)
  • The general support organizations

Under the dependency of the CEMGFA are also:

The Chief of the General Staff[edit]

The Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces is the operational commander of the Portuguese Armed Forces in times of peace. In times of war, he assumes the complete command of the Armed Forces. The CEMGFA is a general officer of one of the three branches of the Armed Forces (Navy, Army or Air Force), appointed by the President of the Portuguese Republic, by proposal of the Government of Portugal.

List of chiefs of the General Staff of the Armed Forces[edit]

  • Army General Aníbal César Valdês de Passos e Sousa (1950–1951)
  • Rear-admiral Manuel Ortins de Bettencourt (1951–1955)
  • Army General Júlio Carlos Alves Dias Botelho Moniz (1955–1958)
  • Army General José António da Rocha Beleza Ferraz (1958–1961)
  • Army General Manuel Gomes de Araújo (1961–1962)
  • Air Force General Venâncio Augusto Deslandes (1968–1972)
  • Army General Francisco da Costa Gomes (1972–1974)
  • Army General Joaquim da Luz Rocha (1974)
  • Army General Francisco da Costa Gomes (1974–1976)
  • Army General António dos Santos Ramalho Eanes (1976–1981)
  • Army General Nuno Viriato Tavares de Melo Egídio (1981–1984)
  • Air Force General José Lemos Ferreira (1984–1989)
  • Army General António da Silva Osório Soares Carneiro (1989–1994)
  • Admiral António Carlos Fuzeta da Ponte (1994–1998)
  • Army General Gabriel Augusto do Espírito Santo (1998–2000)
  • Air Force General Manuel José Alvarenga de Sousa Santos (2000–2002)
  • Admiral José Manuel Garcia Mendes Cabeçadas (2002–2006)
  • Army General Luís Valença Pinto (2006–2011)
  • Air Force General Luís Evangelista Esteves Araújo (2011–2014)
  • Army General Artur Neves Pina Monteiro (2014–present)[1]


  • RIBEIRO, António S., Organização Superior da Defesa Nacional, Prefácio, 2004

See also[edit]